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I’ll be honest, I’ve tried using Dreamweaver once before. Being oblivious to what the current web standards were (table-less), I didn’t know that much, so I figured what I was doing, or for that sake what Dreamweaver was doing behind the scenes was fine. I was wrong. Dreamweaver inserts a lot of bloat code which takes time to go back and take out. The whole process of using Dreamweaver was a terrible experience even for a novice like me. Even the built-in FTP program stinks. While reading a Mac blog (other than my own), I noticed Panic released Coda. I must say, they spent a lot of time putting this beautiful piece of software together. When Coda came out, I was really interested in web development, even more than before. So, I decided to learn how to “hand-code” websites using XHTML and CSS. Let me say, it’s been a wonderful experience learning how to code websites by hand — you have so much more control over what you’re doing. The best part is, it’s easier for you to maintain later on, since you wrote it yourself. After using Coda since early this year, I’d like to show other users the basics of using the program itself.

Setting Up Your Site

  1. To setup a site, go to the Remote view in Coda.
  2. Once there, click on the Add Site button on the bottom of the window.
  3. Enter your settings for your site in the corresponding text fields.
  4. Done.

screenshots: 1-2 3

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

  1. After you setup a site, open Coda (must be in the Remote view) and you will see an icon of the website your developing.
  2. Double-click on it to login to the remote server.
  3. All of your files will appear in a sidebar.
  4. To change access privileges or rename file, right-click on it in the sidebar.
  5. To add folders or files, click on the “+” button in the bottom-left corner. Option-click on the “+” to add a folder.

screenshots: 1 3 4 5

Writing/Editing Files

  1. To open/edit a file, click on it from the sidebar. You can change your preferences [view screenshot] so you have to double-click instead (it’s a must if you have a tendency to hit the Return key by accident).
  2. When you begin coding, select the Syntax you will be using (HTML, CSS). This makes auto-completion [view screenshot] work as well as invalid code warnings.
  3. If you’re new to coding, turn on Hints button (bottom), so you will see programming hints for the attributes you write.
  4. As you’re coding it’s necessary to make sure it’s valid code. Turn on the warning button (black triangle located beside Clips). When an error appears, a yellow triangle will appear with a tooltip explaining what’s wrong.
  5. If you want to replace something like an entire set of <p> tags with <li> tags, use the Find/Replace feature. You can insert “wildcards” (button beside check mark) meaning it will find anything after/before the <p> depending on where you insert the wildcard.
  6. After making an edit, you can preview your changes with the built-in browser. Just click on the Preview tab.

screenshots: 2 3 4 5 6

Save Time Coding With Clips

  1. After you code your first site, there are probably helpful “snippets” of code that you want to use again in future site (i.e. navigation bars, DOCTYPE, etc,.)
  2. This is where Coda’s Clips feature comes in handy.
  3. To edit Clips, click once on the Clips button in the bottom of the window
  4. To access your Clips while your coding, hold down the Clips button at the bottom of the window and a menu will appear for both the Global and Site Clips you have.
  5. In the Clips window, you probably see a few defaults. To remove them, click on the “-” button.
  6. To add Clips, click on the “+” button. Add a title and paste the code write into the text area below.
  7. If you would like the cursor to go to a specific spot in code after it is inserted, click on the “Selection Placeholder” button in the spot you want.
  8. To add a shortcut for a Clip, click in the area that says “click here to add a tab trigger”. Type in a letter then save your clip.
  9. Now you just have to hold down KeyboardKey+Tab and your clip will magically appear.

screenshots: 3 4 6-8

Built-in Reference Books

  1. Coda comes with several references books: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.
  2. When you open one of the books, you will see every possible attribute or tag that goes along with the selected programming language.
  3. Click on one of the attributes to see examples on how to implement them in your site.

screenshots: 2 3

Coding With CSS

  1. Coda makes coding with CSS a dream with the built-in editor.
  2. You can use the CSS editor if you aren’t familiar with CSS quite yet. Personally, I like coding without the editor because you can’t use CSS shorthand from within the editor.
  3. When you code it by hand, having the Symbols window open, makes it easier to quickly go back to a div#ID or div.class just by clicking on the symbol you want.

screenshots: 2 3

Being a tutorial writer myself, I always like to see what other writers are doing and such. All of my tutorials are 100 percent original work from my experience with Mac OS X. On the side, when I’m not writing tutorials or helping people out with computer problems, I like to code websites. For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to gather all of the information I need to put together a website. Being a beginner to the website world, I thought I’d share a few tips to help you get started.

Books vs Online Material

I’ll admit, when I first starting dabbling with websites, I wanted something that had easy-to-read material. Books are a great source for learning, but the web has improved significantly. Two of the most helpful sites for me have been W3Schools and CSS-Tricks. W3schools is a complete reference to every web language out there, with try-it-yourself examples. CSS-Tricks has been the most help for me when it comes to understanding the true tricks of the trade for coding with CSS.
I did buy a book, the Visual QuickStart Guide 6th Edition: HTML, XHTML, and CSS. I use it now only as a quick reference for one thing or another, but it’s nice to have for the times when you get rusty on a few coding rules and such.

Designing Beautiful Graphics

Many of you have probably heard of Adobe and what kind of programs they have. They have several that are used mostly to create web graphics such as Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. I personally prefer to use Photoshop for my web designs as I have become quite familiar with the program. When it comes to learning how to design graphics for websites, I have gotten a lot out of PSDtuts and Smashing Magazine. PSDtuts is an excellent resource for Photoshop tutorials. With weekly tutorials covering how to make neat graphics for web purposes and how to make an retro image. Smashing Magazine covers pretty much everything you’ll ever need to know about the web. They post articles on what makes effective web design, how to make your site attractive, and even coding tips that will greatly improve your skills.

Do-It-Yourself: DIY

I’ve really been learning a bit on my own too. With several browsers now, you can easily inspect a website and understand how the code is being used. This will be a great way for you to see how people make their sites. In Safari, right-click and choose “Inspect Element”. To enable this feature, type:
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true into Terminal to make it work.
In Firefox, use the Web Developer extension or the Firebug extension.

These are some useful search tips for using Google’s search engine. There are lots more, but for now I’m just going to share a few that I find the most useful.

Searching For Free MP3’s

  1. Type in "index of" "mp3" "boston"
    (replace boston with any artist name or song).
  2. Choose one of the results in Google that is most relevant to the artist or song.
  3. When you see the page load with all of the “.mp3” files, right-click on the one you want and choose “Download Linked File” from the contextual menu.

Conversions

  1. You can convert volumes, currencies, and more using Google’s search bar.
  2. If you want to convert a volume 5 liters to milliliters, type in "5 l to ml". Hit the “Return” key and you will get instant results.
  3. For converting currencies type in the number of what currency you have and then which currency you want to convert it to. For example "5 pesos to euros".

Defining Terms

  1. By typing in "define:" and then placing a term after the colon, Google will list all possible definitions for the term.

Getting The Time

  1. To get the time in major US cities as well as your own, type "what time is it" or just "time" in the Google search bar.

Stock Quotes

  1. To quickly see how a stock is doing, type in the stock symbol (ex: "AAPL") and you will see a graph along with the highs and lows for the day

screenshots: Free MP3’s Conversions Time Stock Quotes Defining